If you ever study social psychology or marketing, at some point you will come across Robert Cialdini’s work on influence (and his classic book by the same name). While it’s a fairly straightforward explanation of techniques that people can use to influence one another, I love it because it simplifies the complex to something that’s not just easy to understand, but also easy to use. Sure, there’s more nuance when you really start to dig into changing people’s behavior, but Cialdini’s six influence techniques are a great place to start, especially if you’re trying to provoke a simple behavior like a single purchase or donation.
Which is why it was no surprise to see Kate Spade leverage the persuasive tactic of scarcity during a recent sale on their website:
See the top left of the screenshot? That’s a countdown clock, ticking down the limited moments until your chance to participate in this fabulous sale is gone . . . forever. These sale items won’t be available after that clock counts down to zero, so if you want them, you really don’t have time to think about it.
I’m proud to say I resisted the lure of the scarcity tactic . . . this time.